From Android 11 and iPhone 12, we can see how much mobile phones have evolved. They are essentially portable computers when before, they were used mainly for texts and calls. It would not be too farfetched to say that in 2021, the mobile phone’s primary purpose is to let people access the internet no matter where they go. There’s a reason why they are now called “smartphones.”
This improvement in mobile phones has allowed many companies on the internet to provide better service to their users. One of them is YouTube.
As the biggest video-streaming platform, YouTube is the go-to place on the internet for people looking for something to watch. Without the mobile app, that would require these people to go to their computers. That could get in the way of enjoying their free time to its fullest. For example, they would not watch videos on YouTube while lying on their bed or when they want to be outside. To some, it could ruin the experience. It forces them to pick between watching the video or doing the other thing they want to. The YouTube mobile app removes this dilemma as they can do both. Want to watch a gaming stream before you go to sleep? The mobile app will allow you to do that on your bed. Do you need to watch Gordon Ramsay’s perfect burger tutorial as you grill outside? The mobile app will let you.
This accessibility is undoubtedly what made YouTube’s mobile app so popular. Statista Research Department has published a report regarding the YouTube mobile app’s monthly active user count in the second quarter of 2021.
Their study revealed that the YouTube mobile app counted 774.6 million monthly active users (MAU) worldwide. But that’s only the users on iPhones and iPads. On Android, there are roughly 17.6 million monthly users worldwide.
YouTube treasures every single user of its platform. So it continuously exerts efforts in improving the user experience on the site. The company has started launching new features last year, and it still has not stopped. YouTube’s mobile app is getting better and better day by day.
Video Chapters – Buying Real YouTube Views
Have you experienced being interrupted or distracted while watching a video on YouTube? For sure, when you came back, you wanted to rewatch the part you did not understand when you were distracted. Or, you wanted to start at where you stopped. Sometimes, YouTube will remember, sometimes it will not. So, you would have to utilize the fast-forward and skip buttons to get there. But that’s inconvenient and time-consuming.
To help users get to the parts of the video they want to be in quickly, YouTube introduced Chapters. This allows users to jump to a portion of the video. These segments are given a title to make it easier for users to navigate. It allows creators to finally buy real YouTube views on their best content, boosting their awareness of their ideal audience.
In the early days of the feature, users can see these Video Chapters on the progress bar. If the creator has added Chapters to that video, the progress bar will be broken down into several “blocks.” Each block will represent a Video Chapter.
Later on, YouTube extended the feature to include a list view. The list view will not just list the chapters in the video. It will also present a thumbnail for each one.
Some of YouTube’s most useful buttons are located not in optimal places. For instance, if you want to turn captions on, you must open the settings and find the button there. Another example is the autoplay toggle which YouTube placed above Recommendations. To activate autoplay, users would have to exit full-screen mode. That takes them away from the video or requires them to pause.
Now, YouTube placed these at the top-right corner of the video screen, making them easier to access.
YouTube has added an alternative to tapping the full-screen icon to enter and exit the full-screen mode. Users can swipe up to enter and swipe down to exit. This is not feature users are dying to get access to, but it is a welcome one.
To enhance the video viewing experience, YouTube will prompt users to inform the best way to watch. For example, if a video would look better in the landscape, an action that says Rotate will appear. Likewise, if a video is better viewed with VR gear, YouTube will inform the user. Users can dismiss these suggestions by tapping the X button.
Currently, these are the only suggested actions on the platform. But, YouTube says it plans to add more.
The adage says, “Time goes by so fast when you’re having fun.” Since YouTube is filled with an endless stream of entertaining videos, users may spend hours on the platform without realizing it. This could interfere with their daily tasks and leave them behind their schedules.
To help users prevent this from happening, YouTube introduced a new tool. YouTube’s Bedtime Reminders feature allows users to set alarms that tell them when to stop.
Users can tell YouTube to either send the reminder immediately or wait until they are finished with what they are watching. Also, under the same settings, they can set reminders on when to take a break.
To activate this, users must tap their account profile on the top right corner of the app’s screen. Next, tap “Time Watched” and then toggle the “Remind me when it’s bedtime” or “Remind me to take a break.”
Perhaps this is YouTube’s mobile app’s biggest upgrade. This section presents users with short-form videos which are great for mobile viewing.
Furthermore, it allows them to become content creators without needing a computer. Making these videos takes significantly less effort than making long-form ones. But, they offer a faster route to prominence on YouTube. And, YouTube is looking to reward Shorts creators by introducing a monetization program that will launch in the future.
These features make it crystal clear that YouTube cares about its users. It listens to requests and proactively identifies tools that could help bring a better experience. It wants to spoil its users as much as possible, and we are here for it.
The Results: YouTube Views Grow and Close Houseparty App
Houseparty was a social media platform that helped keep people mentally, emotionally, and socially healthy during the pandemic. Who would have thought that it would be the one that will not make it through these difficult times?
Epic Games has announced that it will discontinue the service this October. Houseparty will be removed immediately from app stores, so it would be best not to uninstall yours. Those who already have Houseparty on their devices can continue enjoying the service until the service’s discontinuation. Houseparty will inform users of that with in-app notifications.
Let us take a look at what Houseparty is about and what led to this decision.
Houseparty: A Face-to-Face Social Network
Houseparty is not Life on Air Inc.’s first video streaming app. That was the short-lived Meerkat. Meerkat had been popular, but the company had decided to cut the service off. (There seems to be a trend here.) It has been withdrawn from app stores, and services stopped.
In 2016, Life on Air replaced Meerkat with Houseparty – an app it said has been in development for 10 months. Even Meerkat’s website redirected visitors to Houseparty. This move aligns with the company’s decision to move away from public broadcasts and focus on private chats.
So, what is Houseparty? Think of Zoom, but more fun-oriented rather than business-oriented. Houseparty is a social media platform that allows users to make group video chats using mobile and desktop apps. Not only that, but you can also play games while video chatting with friends. Houseparty has partnered with Ellen Degeneres’s app and Mattel Inc., adding the popular card game – Uno, Magic 8-ball, and “Heads Up!” to the app. If these aren’t quite your speed, you can play Houseparty Quick Draw and “Chips and Guac!” instead.
Life on Air was acquired by Epic Games in 2019. As a gift from the new family, Fortnite Mode was added, allowing users to video chat while playing the global phenomenon.
In short, Houseparty is about chatting and playing games. It is the ultimate virtual bonding experience. The New Yorker dubbed it as the “virtual living room” of apps for that.
Eight users can be in one room, but one can easily float between an infinite number of rooms. Thus, you can interact with different circles at the same time.
While Houseparty has been around for a while now, Houseparty’s popularity peaked during the pandemic. It offers something similar to the experience of dropping by a friend’s home, which was in demand. In fact, Houseparty was downloaded 17 million times in March 2020. That led to winning the Webby Awards for “Breakout of the Year” that year. Then in April, it became the number 1 social networking app in the iOS App Store, according to Fast Company.
On September 9th, Houseparty made an important announcement through a post on its website. “Saying Goodbye to Houseparty,” said the bold letters at the top of the page. It is a post about the plan to discontinue Houseparty.
The post said that Epic Games incorporated Houseparty’s core technology to some of the features used by Fortnite players and developers. Because of this, the team lost time dedicated to giving the app and the community the attention it deserves. Thus, they decided it would be better to discontinue the service.
Houseparty thanked the tens of millions of people that downloaded the app. It said that its mission is to make people feel together when they are apart. The number of people who downloaded the app made it clear that it has accomplished its mission. “We are honored that you turned to Houseparty to laugh, play games, and create memories while apart,” it said. It silently said that without the users, Houseparty would not be as successful as it did.
Saying goodbye to Houseparty was not an easy decision, but it should be done to realize Epic Games’ vision. As we advance, the Houseparty team will help build Epic Games’ metaverse centered around Fortnite. In case you are wondering, Metaverse is the online, 3D universe that combines various virtual spaces and reality. Last year, Epic Games raised a whopping $1 billion to support its vision of building its metaverse. Discontinuing Houseparty was the next step to realizing that. The team will be in charge of creating “new ways to have meaningful and authentic social interactions” in the metaverse.
The announcement came out of the blue, and so it caught users by surprise. Many of them couldn’t believe what was said. The Twitter post was plagued with replies that say “Please, don’t,” or “Why? It does not make any sense.”
Also, people on Twitter said that Houseparty is the app they use to connect to friends, especially those from different countries. One asked where they would go after the Houseparty app was gone. The Houseparty Twitter account responded and posted a link that directs users to a page where other video call apps are listed. But users replied to that and said none of those come close to Houseparty. “I cannot believe it’s going to be the end. This app has been the only good app I can use to talk to friends,” says Meg (@EmoGoddess). She notes that it is imperative to her, especially because of what’s going on in the world right now. Another user named Jamie (@jamiemakesitez) says he feels the same way and is crestfallen.
A commenter on The Verge shares the sentiment. They say Houseparty was easily the best “virtual but together” experience that they had. Thus, it is saddening to see it go.
But alas, there is nothing users can do. The decision has been made. All they can do now is to cherish the memories they made using Houseparty to honor the app. And whether they like it or not, they have no choice but to look for another group video chatting service. It’s a good thing Houseparty left recommendations.